Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An Open Letter to Online News Sources

Dear Editors and Webmasters of Online News Sources:

I know it's rough for you right now, with print dying and everything going online.  And hey, I think it's great that you have a presence on the web - good for you!  But we need to talk.

I just read an article about some idiot who taped razor blades to playground equipment.  I found the article via, and I had no idea where it had happened.  In order to figure out where the Ledger-Enquirer is, I had to scroll to the bottom, click "about" and then click "contact us."

That's kind of stupid, don't you think?

I think y'all need to standardize, and put a dateline on every online article.  You know, like you used to?  When you were printing articles on paper?

Also, it would be really helpful if, instead of putting "" on top of your page, if you put "The Ledger-Enquirer of Columbus, Georgia" - or even "The Ledger-Enquirer of Columbus, Georgia, USA." After all, this internet thing, it's global.  Someone reading about razorblades in, say, Columbus, Ohio, or Columbus, Spain might get confused.

Would it be too much to ask you to make these two, small changes?  It would sure make life a lot easier for your readers.

TV and radio stations?  You too.  In fact, if your location isn't obvious (as in the Chicago Tribune or the New York Times), and if you're not deliberately being obscure about where you live (like me), you should pretty much assume that no one who sees your website has any idea where you are, unless you tell them otherwise.

One more thing.  Pop up ads look unprofessional.  I can get away with them, because I'm a blogger.  You shouldn't try.

Thanks for listening,
Somewhere in Indiana, south of Grammaland

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